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Manage Your Finances When You’re Laid Off

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No one is exempt from layoffs. Whether you’re 20 or 50, odds are that sooner or later you will find yourself, usual through no fault of your own, out of a job. So it’s only logic to plan ahead. Many money advisers recommend saving equal to six months’ salary to help you if you find yourself unemployed. You will possibly need more, particularly if you have a family and are the main bread winner.

Some things you can’t plan for

However, most of us don’t think about this scenario until we are really laid off. So what do you do if you haven’t organized your finances?

Determine How You Are Spending Your Money

When times are good, most people don’t consider how they spend money. We know how much the rent, car note, or mortgage is, but we don’t give much attention to daily spending. How much do we spend eat out at restaurants? What is your grocery bill every week? What about insurance and energy costs? Being more conscious of how you spend your money will make you think about spending it more wisely. Especially when you don’t have a check coming in every two weeks.

See Where You Can Cut Back

If you’re going to be laid off, you need to create a plan for reducing expenses. Create a budget that removes most unnecessary expenses, but don’t entirely remove entertainment. You need to keep up your spirits and stay in touch with your contacts. Though, you can reduce these expenses significantly. Find cheap places to go out to drink and eat. Go to budget movies instead of plays, always getting the reduced admissions. Don’t give up the gym but think about joining a less costlier one, unless you use the gym to network. Crank your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter.

Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance

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A good way to keep your auto insurance costs low is to have a good driving record. Bet you didn’t know that having one not only saves lives but saves money as well.

Below are some things you can do to reduce your auto insurance costs.

Shop around

Prices differ from company to company. Ergo, it pays to shop around. Have at least three price quotes. You can contact companies directly or get information on the web. Your state insurance department may also offer comparisons of prices by big name auto insurers.

You get insurance to safeguard you financially and give peace of mind. It’s vital to choose a company that is financially stable. Look at the financial health of insurance companies with rating companies like Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best.

Get quotes from different sorts of insurance companies. A few sell through their own agents. These places have the same name as the insurance company. Some sell via independent agents who provide policies from many insurance companies. Some don’t use agents. They sell right to customers via the web or over the phone.

Don’t shop by price alone. Ask relatives and friends for their suggestions. Call the insurance department of your state to see if they give out info on company’s consumer complaints. Choose a company or agent who takes the time to answer your questions. Make a checklist to help you compare quotes from insurers.

Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs

Before you buy a used or new car, look at insurance costs. Car insurance premiums are based some on the car’s price, repair costs, the safety record and the probability of theft. Many insurers provide discounts for features that lessens the risk of theft or injury. To help you choose which car to buy, you can obtain information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

How to Live Frugal in College

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College life is full of huge fees, like the tuition – that it’s easy to not remember that saving a couple of dollars each

Budgeting during college is critical

day can truly add up and reduce the cost of going to college. Here are some easy habits and the money you can save.

  1. Use free transportation options for students like shuttle buses. This includes free buses on your campus or free buses that run between campuses in your area.  If you use them, you won’t need To have to take cabs, pay for public transportation, or have a car. Results? You could save hundreds of dollars or more each month.
  2. Make your own darn coffee. Do the math. If you spend $4.00 or more a day on coffee house coffee , that can add up to over $120 a month and almost $1,000 each academic year.
  3. Cook your own meals for savings even greater than those in #2. Moreover, pick a dorm that is within walking distance of a low-cost grocery store. There is no better source of good food that fits a student budget.
  4. Share textbooks with other students in your class. With the cost of textbooks climbing over $200, you can save over $1,000 a year with this easy strategy.
  5. Get a work/study job on campus. Many job, like working the check-in desk at the gym or the student health center lets you study while you earn an income. Over the course of a school year, those dollars truly add up.
  6. Find affordable off-campus housing, after matching the costs to college dormitories. Also, consider signing up for reduced meal plans that provide a limited number of meals a week in college dining halls. Remember that the bagel that you put in your pocket at breakfast could become your lunch, giving you two meals for the price of one.

Affordable Places to Retire

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You’ve most likely have been dreaming about retirement since the day you began working. But will your budget let you make those dreams a reality? It has a better opportunity if you choose an affordable retirement destination.

To detect some of the cheapest places in the U.S. where you will really want to retire, we tried to pick a good place to retire in each state. We based our choices on factors crucial to retirees like safety, taxes, health care, cost of living, and lifestyle. Here are the appealing places left that really cheap for retirement. Decide for yourself if any of these destinations could be where you live out your American dreams.

Montgomery, AL

Annual expenditures: $37,000

Akron, OH

Annual expenditures: $36,000

Cleveland, OH

Annual expenditures: $36,000

Augusta, GA

Annual expenditures: $36,000

Brownsville, TX

Annual expenditures: $35,000

Toledo, OH

Annual expenditures: $35,000

Memphis, TN

Annual expenditures: $34,000

Jackson, MS

Annual expenditures: $34,000

Other Cities for Retirement

  • Winchester, VA
  • Portland, ME
  • Gainesville, GA
  • Wenatchee, WA
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Columbus, IN
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Midland, TX

 

If money doesn’t matter, there’d be lots of incredible places to spend your retirement. An all-glass contemporary on the Malibu beach, a small winery in Napa Valley. A house in Paris.

But money really does matter. Even as the financial markets gets out of its recession, many of us are redefining what our “dream” retirement is going to look like.

Absolutely, Honolulu has well-priced pineapples and beaches. But not many of us can afford its average home price of over a half million dollars. Chicago has lake views and first-class dining, though its way over the top, extremely high percent sales tax can put those niceties out of reach. Then again, not many retirees want to relocate, even if it is cheap, to a one-stoplight town either.

How Much You Need to Retire at 55

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If you would like to retire at age 55, there are a couple of things you will need to think about that a person who retires later will not have to consider. Below are a few things to consider if you are serious about planning for an early retirement.

Longevity

If you retire at 55, supposing you will have an average life expectancy, your assets need to produce income for a longer period than a person who retires at 65.

It means you need to create an exact projection of what you think you will spend yearly. Then you can compare that to your income sources for retirement you feel you’ll have ready for you.

Social Security doesn’t begin until age 62. Also, there are restrictions and penalties for getting to your retirement money before 59 1/2 .

What this means is that if you want to retire at 55, you must have money or have a way to get it. One source of money won’t cut it. One choice you might think about is using 72 payments to take out from your IRA.

Medicare coverage won’t begin until 65. If you are thinking about retiring at 55, make sure you will have a solid health insurance coverage that you can depend on until you can get Medicare.

Filling Up Your Time

An long vacation sounds nice, but some find it isn’t as satisfying as they thought it would be. When considering early retirement, give real thought as to what you’ll do with your money and your time. Getting serious about a hobby or consulting are ideas.

You could volunteer or help raise the grandchildren. If you decide retiring at 55 might not work for you, move the age up to 62. For many, this is doable. Just make sure that you are emotionally and financially ready when you decide to do so.

How to Make Your Personal Budget

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Creating your first budget can be very overwhelming. So overwhelming since less than 50% of folks have a monthly budget. Truthfully, having a budget is worth the effort. Crafting a budget that you can sustain over the long term has been ultimately linked to building wealth, while at the same time helping you cut expenses and get out of debt.

When getting a budget together, you should take how much money you make a year and divide it into categories to figure out how much you can afford on a recurring basis, as well as how much you can regularly invest.

This stops you from spending money on things you need and want without seeing if you can truly afford them. This also stops you from overdrawing your account and using credit cards unnecessarily.

If you’re a first-time budgeter, here are some steps to make the procedure as painless and as smooth as possible.

Know How Much You Have
If you have accounts (checking, savings, investment), you need to know how much money is in each account and the interest rates and expenses of every one of them.

Determine Your Average Recurring Monthly Expenses
This can be the hard part for many folks. The best way to decide your monthly expenses is to create a list of household expenses for a month. Keep your receipts, your utility bills, and any other expense that occur during a 30-day period and divide these bills into categories.

Track, Monitor, and Be Disciplined
Keeping track of your budget takes an hour or so per week. But this will save you a lot of time over time. Once you have created a budget, you need to keep it in check. The understanding that you’re making good long and short term financial choices will give you with a great deal of comfort. It will take you from living from paycheck to paycheck to being able to see the long-term results of your budget.

Buying a Home: What You Should Know

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Life is full of exhilarating firsts. Your baby’s first steps. Your child’s first day of school. Your first love. Your first job. Your first place.

It doesn’t matter if you want to move out of your parents’ home for the first time or have your own home after renting for years, buying your 1st home is a huge step. It takes plenty of preparation when you’re at this place in your life and a little luck never hurts.

When you have no home to sell, you can take your time looking around and then jump. You could look at more than 50 condos and home to find the right one.

Renting instead of buying a house may seem like the most affordable or convenient way to go. It pays to do some easy research to know the advantages and disadvantages of renting vs. buying. You may find that purchasing a residence is really your best option.

Once you determine it’s the right time to purchase your first house, here are a few things you must do:

Accurately track your expenses

To really know the financial effect of owning a house, begin by tracking precisely how much you spend every month on all things, whether it’s entertainment or food. Write the figures down.

Set and stick to a strict budget

Once you have a precise picture of what you’re spending, craft a real budget. Remember to factor in your monthly debts and leave some room for savings. Anticipate shelling out at least 10% of the purchase price for a deposit and another 5% for closing. This budget will work as your roadmap to finding a house that is affordable. Once you have decided what your budget is, contact several agents and pick one that you feel a connection with. Get started on the exciting process of owning your own home!

The Top Budgeting Apps

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We all realize that keeping your budget balanced can not only aid you staying on track financially, but can also lessen your stress when it comes to your lifelong financial health. But if your system is a untidy folder of receipts or wads of cash in numerous wallets/purses, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

If your attention is more on saving your money and counting each penny, there a plan for that as well. There are many ways to save and it’s not just about clipping coupons or keeping tabs on your bank account with your bank app. There are savings apps for anything from investing to personal budgets to customize savings plans.

Here are some of the top money management apps, spending trackers, budgeting apps, and other financial tools for managing money. You can have a better handle on your daily, weekly, monthly, even yearly spending practices. Read on a gain back control of your finances.

If you’re still figuring out how to make a workable financial budget for your income you’re your lifestyle, these tools could change your mindset. A few may even increase your net worth.

Top Picks

  • Mint.com
  • BillGuard
  • The Rest of The List
  • The Birdy
  • You Need a Budget
  • Adaptu
  • HelloWallet
  • GoodBudget
  • Mvelopes
  • Pocket Expense
  • HomeBudget
  • Expensify
  • Level
  • Unsplurge
  • Toshl Finance
  • FamZoo

Mint.com is a fan favorite when it you talk about money managing apps. It assists in managing your saving, budgeting, spending, and earnings. It can even combine all your accounts, including you IRA and 401K.

BillGuard is another great money management tool and a fan favorite. This well-known budgeting app has two key purposes: to aid you in totally recognizing your spending habits and to protect your credit cards from falsified charges, two very crucial goals when it comes to trailing your spending.

Choosing the Right Financial Advisor

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Planning is key!

You finally want to hire a financial advisor. You know this is a vital decision, but you have no idea where to begin. The amount of financial information available is endless and getting started can be frightening. But the process can be easy if you divide it into steps.

Selecting an advisor type:

Almost anybody can refer to themselves as a financial advisor. Let’s begin by reducing the field. There are three basic types of advisors according to how they are paid: commission, fee-only, and fee-based.

Commission: Commission-based advisors (insurance agents, registered representatives, brokers) sell financial products like mutual funds, annuities, insurance and mutual funds, getting commissions on those products. They are often working for big financial institutions and have their Series 6 or Series 7. Because what they are paid is based on what they sell, there is a huge conflict of interest. It’s critical to be aware that the temptation of commission is there and it can play a part in their recommendations for you.

Fee-based: These advisors are somewhat new to the financial industry. Fee-based advisors are usually associated with a broker/agent and like the commission-based advisors, usually hold a license to sell insurance or investments for a commission. Fee-based advising is complex because like the fee-only advisor, the fee-based advisor offers financial planning for a fee. However, the vital difference is they also sell products and get paid commissions. So, there is still that big conflict of interest, because their fee-based recommendations could, and typically do, include buying products they get commissions on.

Fee-only: This is the only type of advisor recommended for complete financial planning and/or asset management. Fee-only advisors possess a fiduciary duty to work in the best interest of their clients. They only make money through hourly rates, flat fees, or a % of the assets they manage.

Is Opening a Franchise Worth the Money Invested?

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Hundreds of entrepreneurs take a leap of faith and invest in franchises as a way to get a part of the American dream. The temptation is possessing a proven brand concept and training and marketing support to increase the odds of start-up triumph. But for most, the main question each potential franchisee asks is: “How much money can I make?”

As part of a recent study, 50 franchisees reported on across the US offered annual gross sales figures, many going into the millions. But as part of the study, profit figures were reviewed for a big majority of star franchises. It was discovered that these franchises as a group average over 3 times the net income of the average U.S. franchisee.

For some, the benefit was beginning with a low-cost franchise and knocking the ball out of the park. Others were capable of generating a high return on investment, even at a bigger initial franchise investment. Remember, the franchisees on the list are stars, not just the average ones.

Sadly, numerous new franchise owners begin with improbable financial expectations and never accomplish the level of financial success they had dreamed of. It’s vital to know that depending on one financial figure gives a unrealistic picture of a franchise opportunity.

Keep the following tips in mind if you are a potential franchise business owner looking at opportunities.

Don’t be fooled by big, top-line numbers

As a business owner, your take home income will eventually come out of your business’s net profit or bottom line. While the gross sales/gross revenue of any company (“top line revenue”) may seem remarkable, it is crucial to know the profit margin of the business, the amount of money left over after all business expenses are paid out.

The result is your business bottom line most likely isn’t your bottom line.